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North Korea creates own Juche ideology-based standard time

North Korea creates own Juche ideology-based standard time

Posted August. 08, 2015 07:21,   


What could happen if Korea’s major cities, such as Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju and Daejeon, use different time zones? People living in different places must set a specific time zone as the criterion to decide the time to meet. It is confusing and burdensome. In general, a nation applies a unified time zone even though there are many regions across the nation. This is the standard time. Of course, large nations such as the U.S., Russia and Canada use multiple standard time zones for several groups of regions.

The international civil time standard is set based on the Greenwich observatory in the U.K. When dividing the meridian line that connects the geographical North and South Poles into the East and West longitudes, the starting point is Greenwich. If the circumference of the earth, 360 degrees, is divided by 24 hours of a day, there is a difference of 1 hour per 15 degrees. Seoul is located in the east from Greenwich and uses the Japan Standard Time for 135 degrees east longitude. That’s why Seoul is 9 hours ahead of London. In fact, Seoul is located in 127.5 degrees east longitude, not 135 degrees. Initially, when the nation started using the Western style standard time, it used 127.5 degrees as the criterion. But during the Japanese colonial rule, the Japanese authority changed the standard time zone to be aligned with Tokyo’s 135 degrees and it has been established since then.

North Korea has announced that it will use the 127.5 degrees east longitude as the standard time zone, not Japan Standard Time. The communist regime set forth the reason that it wants to restore Joseon’s standard time deprived by Japan. Then Pyongyang will move its clocks back by 30 minutes to Seoul. If it is 10 a.m. in Seoul, it would be 9:30 a.m. in Pyongyang. The 30 minute difference is a unique case since the standard time usually has an interval of 1 hour around the world. In the near future, South Koreans need to decide whether to use "Seoul time" or "Pyongyang time" to meet or have an appointment with North Koreans, just as they do now with foreigners.

North Korea uses the "Juche" calendar to call years after 1912, the year of Kim Il Sung’s birth. In the North Korean calendar, the year of 2015 is "Juche 104" year. It is frustrating to see North Korea that uses its own Juche calendar while all the other nations in the world are using the Gregorian calendar. Even so, Juche calendar is applied only in the nation and does not make a great impact to others. But the standard time is different. It is confusing and inconvenient when the same Korean people living on the other half of the Korean peninsula use the different time zone. If North Korea does not want to use the Japan Standard Time as it is a remnant from the Japanese imperialism, what about the modern scientific technologies imported through Japan?